Everyone is doing their best to adapt to the new reality during the COVID-19 pandemic, and property managers are no exception. Managing rental properties presents some particular challenges in times when social distancing is the norm and many tenants are out of work. Let’s take a look at how property managers are adapting.
How property managers are responding to Coronavirus
One of the best ways property managers and property owners can continue making smart choices during the pandemic and its aftermath is to stay informed. As the situation continues to evolve, and federal, state, county and city measures change on a daily basis; property managers need to stay up to date.
Pay attention to local health officials and law enforcement to keep up with how the rules are changing locally. For recommended best practices on a national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is a great resource.
Social distancing affects us all, and property managers continue to find new ways of managing rental properties with minimal contact with tenants. From setting up online rent payments and taking maintenance requests remotely, there are many ways to go about doing this.
Let tenants know that social distancing applies to them as well as to landlords, property managers and their staff. It’s also a good idea to communicate with tenants that, while emergency repairs and essential maintenance will go forward as needed, non-essential maintenance may have to be delayed.
Working with tenants on rent
One of the harsh realities that many landlords and property managers are learning to live with is that some tenants are going to have a harder time paying rent. Record numbers of people are unemployed or underemployed, and with moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures across many U.S. states and cities, there is little choice but to work with tenants as much as possible.
Whether that means accepting partial rent, deferring payments, or arranging some kind of payment plan, your best option is to be flexible. Try to also remain firm though, and establish that rent will be due as usual once the pandemic subsides. Also make sure all rent deferral or forgiveness requests are officially submitted in writing.
Expanding cleaning measures
Keeping rental properties clean and sanitary is more important than ever. For property managers who employ their own cleaning staff, it’s essential that they understand how important their role is, and how to stay safe while carrying it out. If you work with third-party vendors for cleaning and sanitation, be sure their workers are taking necessary precautions.
If possible, put hand sanitizer in areas where staff and tenants can access it (i.e. lobbies, common areas). Make sure to double down on cleaning high-traffic spots like door handles, counters, hand rails and bathrooms.
Protecting tenants and staff
Some of the most important choices property managers are making revolve around how to keep tenants and staff safe. This becomes especially important if and when a tenant is diagnosed with COVID-19. In these cases, property managers need to take measures to keep all parties safe, while also protecting the privacy of infected tenants.
If you know someone in one of your rental properties who has tested positive, be careful not to cross the line of violating the individual’s privacy. Property managers may inform the rest of their tenants that the illness is present, but may not identify the person or the unit number.
Contact us today to learn more about how property managers are dealing with the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic, and talk to our team about how to better navigate these unprecedented times. Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996.